Ukraine's hryvnia plunged 13 percent to a record low against the dollar as a government official said the weakening currency may trigger defaults on more than half of loans. The 44 percent slide in the hryvnia this year threatens repayments of loans and mortgages denominated in foreign currencies, Roman Zhukovskyi, head of the social and economic department in President Viktor Yushchenko's office, said in a televised press conference in Kiev. Ukraine's economy, which has expanded at an annual pace of 7 percent since 2000, will probably slow to 2 percent this year, central bank adviser Valeriy Lytvytskyi said. (Bloomberg)

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